2013 Sky Vineyards, Half’n, Zinfandel/Syrah, Red Wine, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley.
This unique Half’n red wine from Sky is deeply colored and beautifully evolved on the the full bodied palate with the feel of a Northern Italian wine and a range of blue and red fruits, spice, dusty tannins and good mountain acidity all delivered with a refreshing raw transparency. The profile is authentic and without pretense showing off the natural style, the distinct sense of place at Sky with black raspberry, tree picked plum, earthy currant and kirsch layers that are accented by dried herbs, a touch of floral aromas, tobacco leaf, peppery spices and a hint of old cedar. This 2013 is really hitting a good spot with its maturing flavors and smooth textural quality, it still has plenty of life as well and is delicious, it is a wine that has a throwback air to it, that brings to mind, an older era. Sky is well known within the wine community for their Mount Veeder Zinfandel and with good reason, as this small hand crafted winery makes a great example, but more rare is their Syrah, Rosé and this Half’n Red Wine. I kept thinking as I enjoyed this 2013 Half’n, where would I guess it came from, because it doesn’t scream California in the glass and has the structure of an old world wine, and a friend suggested the Northern Italy comparison, which works just as well as anything I could have referenced. This would be even better if paired with country cuisine, in particular simple meat dishes and or hard cheeses.
The Sky Half’n is composed of 50/50 co-fermented grapes, sourced from the estate grown Zinfandel and estate grown Syrah, in what the winery says highlights what is special about their vines here, near the crown of Mt. Veeder that is high between Napa and Sonoma valleys, making this wine one that transcends the grape varieties. The expansive southern views and the elevation up at 2100 feet adds to the terroir character at Sky, along with reddish volcanic soils gives these wines their soulful expression. Sky, which is all organic, is off the power grid, with the winery saying it relies mainly on solar panels and a minimal use of a generator, when it is absolutely needed, trying to keep a low carbon impact and a respect for the environment. The winemaking at Sky, by founder Lore Olds, is minimalistic with all hand-harvested grapes that are naturally fermented in open top one-ton bins with classic maceration and punch downs being performed by hand three times per day. After primary fermentation completes, the wine is then pressed in a traditional small basket press and then aged in French oak barrels. On a side note, Sky has had to overcome the devastating 2017 (Napa/Sonoma) Wine Country fires, in which the Old’s lost their home and a portion of the vineyards, so it is a great time to support this family run small winery. Lore Olds, himself, designs the label artwork for each new vintage and all of the bottles are hand labeled, showcasing the scenic views here, as well as paying tribute to the family as this Half’n does. I really enjoyed this 2013 and look forward to opening my 2014 Zinfandel and 2015 Syrah bottles from Sky, that I recently adopted.
($40 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive